“These days the public distrust media opinion even more than they distrust the major political parties,” Iron Mark said at Melbourne University last night. “Increasingly, they want to cut out the middleman.” The great club-buster observed “The Canberra Club has a lot to worry about and a lot to hide.”

He might like a Dutch study that has revealed that politicians who deliberately leak confidential information to the press get away with it most of the time – and raised questions of the accuracy of the material they pass on.

Researchers at the University of Nijmegen spoke to journalists and editors at 50 daily newspapers in the Netherlands on leaks and leaking. They didn’t find anyone who believed using leaked information posed a moral problem. They also discovered that leaked information was generally published two-thirds of the time and the leakers were able to remain anonymous.

At the same time, though, the journos the researchers spoke to admitted they found the information they received was often “unbalanced, incomplete and lacking in detail.” Well, d’oh! Why else do you leak?

The subjects also admitted they were only likely to check the accuracy of leaked material in an average of 34 per cent of cases. Double d’oh! Why bite the hand that feeds you?

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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